Guests - If You want access to member only forums on HSO. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on HotSpotOutdoors.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
titelines

Transforming Fridge Into Smoker

12 posts in this topic

Hi All,

I have a fridge that I was using for beer etc. in the basement. It's old and finally gave out a couple months ago.

I've also been looking into getting a smoker. As much as I'd like a new, top-o-the-line smoker, I thought I may look into transforming the fridge first.

Has anyone ever done this? What's involved? Here's what I'm thinking off the top of my head.

• The freezer is on top, so I thought I'd flip the whole thing.

• Remove all the exterior coils, motor etc.

• Drill some holes between the freezer compartment and the fridge compartment.

• Drill a hole at the top of the fridge and insert a length of pipe.

• Use a habatchi or hot plate as a heat source, placed in the freezer compartment.

• Use wood of my choice, soaked in water, place with heat source. Smoke goes through the holes into the fridge, smokes/cooks whatever's in there and smoke vents out the top.

• Probably use a ratchet around the whole thing to keep it air tight.

Could I use a small charcoal grill as the heat source? Fill that up with charcoal and add wood chips and it would last a long time.

On the flip side: I'm nervous about the insulation, the plastic on the interior and anything that may be coated on the racks.

Am I better off dumping this thing and getting the real deal?

Any info on this type of project would be very appreciated.

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend of mine used an old fridge for a smoker.

He took out everything so it was an empty shell.

Made brackets to hold the old metal grates at different levels.

Cut a hole on top and added a small short stack for the smoke to exit.

The fridge had the latching door handle that worked slick and held the door closed tight.

He also bolted on an old dolly on the back side so he could move the whole thing around with ease. Used the old bottom drawrers from the fridge to hold the ashes.

Hope this helps!

Finlander grin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An old refrigerator was the classic basis for a smoker years ago. Unfortunately, today they are all plastic on the inside. You rarely see one old enough to be lined with enamel sheet metal. The plastic turns into a stinky mess and once it gets a little too hot, it turns into a melted scorched mess.

If I were going to build a smoker today, I would start with an old stove. The drawer area underneath would be easily converted to a fire box and it comes with racks. They vent through one of the burners but you might want to make some alteration so you have an adjustable vent. If it's not big enough, think about adding a second one on top with holes for the smoke. Check your local Menards, they sell some secondhand appliances in the yard but most are just cart aways by the delivery folks and they will give them to you or charge you a couple of bucks (scrap prices are up). You will often have a good selection. Best of all you are starting with something that is intended to get hot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill, I think the stove idea would be the route to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can tell you what I did for mine...Find the right old fridge...preferably one with the rounded corners and single door. (Check with recycling center for old fridges and oven racks)Strip it bare inside...all plastic, insulation, rubber door gasket. You'll likely need to move the door hinges in to make up for the space from removing the door gasket. Get some racks from a stove...I've always heard NOT to use refrigerator racks) You might need to cut the racks to get them to fit...sawzall time. Drill and run threaded rods to set racks on, 2 rows, front and back. I had 4 racks about 6 inches apart. Various ways to make a heat source...I used wood, then a small charcoal grill (easier to keep the heat up, and consistent. I made 1 more "rack" 6 inches above the heat source, but put sheet metal on it to hold a water/wood chip pan on, and to dissapate the heat. I used that smker for 10 plus years and lots of salmon,,,she finally burned out beyond repair and was retired:( I'm sure an oven would work, but I like the vertical shape of a fridge better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As BillP said, most modern refrigerators have way too much plastic on the inside to be used as a smoker. A friend of a friend actually did the oven route and he used the electric heating element in the oven as his heat source. He built a metal tray that sat just above the bottom heating element. It worked great. The oven would cycle to keep the heat at the proper level which was usually very low. You can crack open the door to let the heat out if you need to.

If I was in the market for a new smoker I would check out the used/old oven route.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

modern is the key...find an old fridge, they're still out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did it last summer.

Wife had a beermeister (yeah I know I married a goddess) that fits a quarter barrel and it was always freezing up in the back, forcing the keg out, letting the beer warm, and requiring me to break the ice out with a hammer. It was a pain.

Last summer, I hit it kinda hard and it sounded like a balloon letting air out when the coil got pinged. At first, I was a bit disappointed, but then I came up with a plan. I would use the downstairs fridge for the kegerator and its a frost free fridge, so that works dandy.

Then, I would convert the kegerator to a fish smoker. Let me tell you, things got interesting, but I stripped it down to barebones which was a pain in the rear. I had a lot of walnut finished lumber, and I lined the entire case with that, screwed from the outside. Then I bought 2 electric burners and took and extra dogdish for a chiptray and I got me a dandy smoker. The exta burner is needed because you want the smoker to get hot enough to hot smoke the fish, smoke temperatures from 160 to 190. Cold smoking fish takes forever and I don't have that much time.

My first batch was 5-6 whities and they were truly as good as the smoked fish from Bearcat's Smokehouse in Algoma, WI. Bearcat's has hands down the best smoked fish in at least 2 states.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ive seen them made out of a fridge that was in a barn fire and was half burnt already so he lit the whole thign on fire and got rid of everything not meatle or cumbustalbe..... if there is too much plastic keep your fridge and use as a minnow tank..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did it last summer.

Wife had a beermeister (yeah I know I married a goddess) that fits a quarter barrel and it was always freezing up in the back, forcing the keg out, letting the beer warm, and requiring me to break the ice out with a hammer. It was a pain.

Last summer, I hit it kinda hard and it sounded like a balloon letting air out when the coil got pinged. At first, I was a bit disappointed, but then I came up with a plan. I would use the downstairs fridge for the kegerator and its a frost free fridge, so that works dandy.

Then, I would convert the kegerator to a fish smoker. Let me tell you, things got interesting, but I stripped it down to barebones which was a pain in the rear. I had a lot of walnut finished lumber, and I lined the entire case with that, screwed from the outside. Then I bought 2 electric burners and took and extra dogdish for a chiptray and I got me a dandy smoker. The exta burner is needed because you want the smoker to get hot enough to hot smoke the fish, smoke temperatures from 160 to 190. Cold smoking fish takes forever and I don't have that much time.

My first batch was 5-6 whities and they were truly as good as the smoked fish from Bearcat's Smokehouse in Algoma, WI. Bearcat's has hands down the best smoked fish in at least 2 states.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the above are correct, if I could figure out how to post pics to FM I would show you mine. I have 2 of them. Look on HSOforum [YouNeedAuthorization] for old fridges, somebody is always trying to get rid of one. Make sure the door is all one piece, not two and make sure you have metal insides.

I use a 2 burner hot plate that I got at Walmart for $30. The second burner hardly gets used so that way you have it just in case you need to add extra heat. One burner holds the smoke pot, which is a metal bowl that I got at the dollar store. I use Little Chief smoke chips which are very fine. I pour about 2 cups of smoke chips in there in the bowl and make a hole in the middle with my finger so they burn from the middle of the bowl out. The chips usually last about an hour or so. And I do about 4-5 pots of smoke per batch of meat, which is just about right for ppl's taste buds.I also have a water pan. It about 8 x 11 by 2 high and sits on legs above the left burner. Right burner holds the smoke pan.

The only thing I would ad to the replys is to get two tru temp thermometers from Target, cost $15 a piece. Thread the end of one thru the smoke stack so that the probe is hanging in the smoke house to read the temp of the smoke house. The other I use for reading meat temps, and when you get close to being done or what you think is done I use both for reading meat temps.

The huge huge advantage of a fridge smoker versus a fancy new one is the amount of meat being able to smoke in it. I smoke tons of venison (just got done with 150 lbs of sticks and sausage). A fancy new one can't hold the amount of meat that I can do with my fridge.

If you post an email addy or someone gives me directions I can get pics posted up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • Tomorrow we will be back at it
    • I am giving it a last hurrah tomorrow. Sorry I haven't been able to check in here much. I have hardly been able to get out this year between work, a baby at home, and a recent trip out of the country for a relative's wedding.    Last time I was out I had a real nice Tom within 20 yards after a very long standoff. I think I screwed it up by rushing myself a bit. He stood around 50 yards out literally strutting back and forth like someone had drawn a line in the mud that he wouldnt cross. He must not have wanted to fight with the strutter decoy we had out. He did that for 45 minutes to an hour and finally came our way after a hen led him towards us.    They came past us but were outside the decoys and angling slightly away from us. Then the tom turned and started angling straight at the strutter decoy. That meant he was basically quartering to me and when he was 15-17 yards or so out I drew because in the back of my mind i was thinking if he kept moving that way and past the decoy he would quickly be in a spot I would have had no shot.   In hindsight I think he had realized (once he got close enough) that he would have been able to whoop up on the decoy and he was coming in to do just that. I probably should have waited to see, but I didn't and right as I hit the backwall of my draw his head popped up on alert and he turned around and walked straight away knowing something wasn't quite right. I could have easily shot at him at 20 yards but he was facing away and I just didn't feel comfortable. I am confident I would have hit my mark but I didn't like shooting at something walking straight away when I am not experienced with bow hunting turkeys.   I know some people will say that I should have shot, but I have been bow hunting for awhile and never wounded anything because of a poor shot or poor shot selection, so I didn't want that to be a first. Hopefully I get a shot at redemption tomorrow!
    • Way to go team!! I sure took the avg score down with my jake
    • nice story, fishing has a way of easing the pains we have. even when we hurt like crazy when done for the day we are looking forward to the next outing.
    • way to go, guys yep, the toms not about to give up even though its close to closing time have seen several strutters the past couple weeks and heard gobbles yesterday while fishing
    • great job. makes it 5 for 5 for team 5 congrats on a nice tom, 57 and that willl give our team score a boost
    • One More Cast      Photo by:  Roger Abraham   If any of you out there are regular readers of my tales, you have followed my recent struggles with back and knees.  I can’t put a name to this drive I have to be on the stream as of late.  It borders on obsession. I guess in my mind if I am healthy enough to fish the world is right with me and I am not getting old and feeble.      Today I was a witness to that I am not the only one.  Lots of anglers and hunters live to go out into the outdoors. .  It is what drives them.  It makes them feel alive.  It is their passion.  I told my fishing buddy Abe today my thoughts.  I told him how I was feeling a little old.  I guess my 60th birthday coming up next month makes me feel mortal.  Abe laughed and said I was a young buck compared to him.  Abe turns 76 this year.     Abe told me tales about catching big trout in tiny streams in Wisconsin and out west.  The twinkle in his eye when he reminisced I had seen before in many trout anglers.      We fished a stretch for 2 hours.  I sat down and rested often.  Abe kept on fishing. He got hung up in a box elder branch and lost a lure.  Abe told me box elders trees were his nemesis when he fished.   He asked me which tree was my kryptonite.  I told him, "ones with branches."  We both had a chuckle and continued fishing.   I thought to myself this guy is really driven.  I hope I am like him at 76.     We got to the vehicle and Abe wanted to continue fishing.  Abe’s waders sprang a leak earlier and he fell in the water a couple times.  He was quite wet.  He wanted to change in to dry clothes before we continue.  Abe peeled off his wet shirt and there were two things stuck to his chest.  He could tell by my questioning look he needed to tell me what was up.     Abe told me he had been having heart problems lately and he was supposed to be wearing a heart monitor.  He left it in the car because he was afraid of getting the electronics wet.  Here I have been whining about being old and the guy I was fishing with left his heart monitor in his vehicle.      Abe reassured me that he was in no danger and he could continue fishing.  I started brainstorming on a place to fish where it was not so hard walking.  Now that I knew he was not as healthy as he looked I wanted an easy place to fish.  I knew the place and it was upstream 5 miles.     We arrived at the well manicured field.  It looked like a golf green.  I picked the area because the farmer kept sheep and goats on the land and the weeds and brush were gone because of the goats.  We walked and fished.     Abe told tales of the old days and of fish lost and landed.  I walked a little forward to fish and looked back to check up on Abe.  What I saw when I looked back scared me and I immediately asked Abe if he was ok.  Abe was laying flat on the ground face down.  I thought the worst and he could tell by my face.  He told me to calm down.  His back was acting up and he needed to straight it out and that was the best way to do it.   We fished a little bit more and he took a photo of me.  He liked the lighting. He told me it captured the essence of trout fishing.  He did not have a camera.  I let him use mine.  He was not camera savvy and needed an impromptu lesson on how to use it.   We drove to his car and we talked about our love of the outdoors. We shook hands and headed our separate ways and promised to fish again soon.  As I drove home I smiled and thought about how I am going to be when I am 76.  I hope I am like Abe and my eyes still twinkle when I talk of chasing trout and I am still driven to make one more cast.
    • The past week has had me having multiple close calls and missing a brute at 45 yards.  Tonight I talked my dad to give it another try and there were birds in the field when we got there.  Birds ended up leaving as we tried to sneak in.  A short 20 minutes later they were back and we watched and worked the big group of toms and hens for more than 2 hours before we got one to commit.  Dad shot him with his 20 gauge at 48 yards,(this thing shoots an awesome pattern).  The 3 year old was down and only flopped a few times.   Nice 1+ inch spurs, 10" beard and heavy.  A good evening for sure!
    • Sorry to disappoint guys, but this tom was not my first bird of the season. Apparently that's part of the rules. The score won't count towards the team. I don't have any measurements for the jake I shot so we will have a zero from me.    At least my freezer is full. 
  • Our Sponsors